Johnston talks taxes, executive perks

On Thursday, Oct. 2, Pulitzer Prize winner and former New York Times writer David Cay Johnston spoke at the University of Vermont about the current economic situation and the tax system.Johnston focused on key issues from his book, Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You With the Bill). The book is the second in a series, and Johnston repeatedly stated that all information came from official government records. “We have a system that takes from the many and gives to the few,” Johnston said.Johnston mainly focused on American tax dollars, arguing that Americans are putting their money into the government’s pockets. Johnston explained in the current income distribution, the top 10 percent of Americans are receiving half of the income. Johnston also focused on subsidies, and that in Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations,” Smith predicted the issues we are experiencing today. “We were told this was a bad idea by Adam Smith,” Johnston said, “We’ll go broke.” According to Johnston, various cities around the country are destroying local merchant business by introducing big box stores, such as Walmart, Target and Cabela’s. “Why? To create more jobs!” Johnston said. Johnston spoke briefly on the price of college education and student loans, stating we have turned college into a business. “I don’t understand why students don’t go on strike,” Johnston said.Johnston described the grim future ahead if Americans continue to ignore the current situation. “If we continue down the path we’re going, what do you think is going to happen to our country?” Johnston asked.Johnston’s lecture launched the beginning of the Journalism Lecture Series sponsored by The Vermont Cynic.